Today is the 38th Anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision of the Supreme Court, giving women the right to choose to end a pregnancy in the first two trimesters.
That decision in 1973 led to furious reaction, and the formation of the Right To Life Movement, as well as the Pro Choice alternative.
Conservatives and devout Christians and Orthodox Jews have been fighting to limit the right, including banning abortions at an earlier point after conception; pushing women considering an abortion to watch a live video of the fetus; eliminating insurance coverage for abortions; preventing public financing of abortions; and requiring parental consent and waiting periods for minors.
The abortion rate has been going down, and in many states, it is difficult for abortion doctors to open and conduct their business. Also, demonstrations by Pro Life groups have complicated the operations of such abortion centers.
There have been a few high profile murders of abortion doctors over the years, and threats to many other such specialists.
The issue had been muted somewhat recently because of the economy, but now it is entering national politics, with former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a likely candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2012, bringing up the issue by stating he is amazed that President Barack Obama, as an African American, would support abortions.
Additionally, Randall Terry, of Operation Rescue, has made clear that he will challenge President Obama for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2012, knowing full well that he cannot beat the President, but will force the abortion issue to the forefront and, at the least, attempt to embarrass the President on that issue. For good measure, he also plans to fight the idea of gay marriage and gay rights, and make it an issue in the Democratic campaign. Ordinarily, one would think that Terry would run in the Republican Party, but his plan is to run as a Democrat solely to complicate the Democratic Party race for the 2012 campaign.
The South, Mountain, and Great Plains states, basically conservative and Republican, are in a position to ban abortion rights at a pace never before seen, with more conservative legislators and many more Governors who support such bans.
But also, the key states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio have now elected legislatures and Governors bent in that direction, so the activities of the National Abortion Rights League and Planned Parenthood are meeting a fundamental shift in the balance of power.
So 38 years after abortion rights were granted by the Supreme Court, the right of a woman to control her own body and reproductive activities is under sustained threat!